Harvest storage, part 2, fruit Field

Larry G. Field
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

Fruit harvest is a challenge with our weather conditions. Nearly all fruit will be ruined if it falls from the tree. It will be bruised and gouged by tree limbs and the ground because of the fall and while on the ground it will be rapidly attacked by invertebrate pests. Trees will shed fruit for two primary reasons, if the fruit is damaged or when ripening. All fruit is best when “tree ripened,” but this is nearly impossible with our winds.

If you have not devised an effective way to save your fruit crop from self destruction you may wish to experiment with SMALL SAMPLES of fruit from each tree as described in this paragraph. Consider the risks involved. I monitor wind falls. If the fallen fruit fell because it is/was defective I ignore it. If the fruit appears to have fallen because it was ripening, I immediately harvest about 1/3 of what we wish to keep, even if not ripe. We never use an entire crop, note the preceding comment “of what we wish to keep.” You should experiment with small samples. I pick the ripest available and hope that they will ripen in storage in the basement, one layer deep in pop flats. I wait “a while,” seven to 10 days, (experiment with timing for each variety of fruit) and do the same with the next ripest 1/3 of the crop. I eventually pick for the rest of our needs. In most cases, a strong wind will strip the tree before I make three pickings and all remaining on the tree will be ruined. Many late season fruit such as pears, peaches and some plums will ripen well in storage; but will never be as good as “picked when ripe.” You decide if you wish to take this risk, but at least try it with a “sample” of each fruit. The gamble is picking too soon and ruining vs leaving too long and letting wind or weather ruin the crop. This issue can be mitigated by purchasing the earliest maturing fruit varieties.

The Laurel Outlook


You can find the historic archives of our paper here:



We use Google cookies to determine our demographic of visitors to our site. You can opt out here.

We also use Twitter Analytics to track clicks from our twitter feed.